Friday, March 27, 2015

Media Blitz

Yesterday, plastic bags containing a compendium of advertisements called Shop & Find, published by Columbia-Greene Media, were indiscriminately tossed onto stoops, into yards, and onto driveways throughout neighborhoods in Hudson and Greenport. Today, according to reports from readers, the distribution continued in other neighborhoods of both municipalities. The pictures below show examples of the publication that remain where they fell more than 24 hours ago, within a hundred feet of Gossips Central.

Readers who have contacted Gossips about the phenomenon have expressed concern that these unsolicited materials tossed onto private property will continue to be overlooked or ignored by their intended recipients and will become a litter problem for entire neighborhoods and municipalities. There may be a fine line here between free distribution and littering.


  1. I have received these the past 3 days, and once last week, I think. So annoying to get this on top of same sort of thing dropped off by mailman every week. They all go right to the recycle pile.

    Elizabeth Nyland

  2. City of Hudson Code:

    §58-1 Written Permission to Distribute Required:

    "No person or persons shall, within the limits of the City of Hudson, distribute or hand out circulars, dodgers, handbills, printed or pictured papers, advertising media or devices or any like substance or material for business or commercial purposes without first obtaining written permission from the Code Enforcement Officer."

    §58-2 Littering with Advertising Matter Prohibited:

    "It shall be unlawful for any person or persons to deposit, cast, strew, throw or hand to or distribute among passersby or other persons, upon any of the streets, alleys or public ways or places of the City of Hudson, any circulars, dodgers, handbills, printed matter or pictured papers, advertising media or devices or any like substance or material, whereby the said streets, alleys, ways, places or the premises neighboring thereto are or may become littered or strewn or rendered unsightly, unclean, foul and offensive."

  3. Thank you, Carole, for bringing this blight to wider attention. I thought I was the only one annoyed by these "bombings".

  4. We have gotten these in our rural mailboxes on Thurs/Fridays for more quite some time...Full of coupons, etc. Don't know if others get them on their door step or not..I live in Claverack.

  5. While pretty much everyone agrees of these publications are an eyesore, a waste and a nuisance, this is a more complicated issue than it might appear on its face.

    Consider if you had some urgent issue to alert your neighborhood about: Would you want Code Enforcement to have the power to approve your flyers?

    In other places that this problem has come up around the country, publishers have (with a good deal of success) fought back on 1st Amendment/Constitutional grounds.

    Hudson's laws, as cited above, might well be deemed unconstitutional and unenforceable if someone like the Register-Star saw fit to challenge them. Shaming publishers is probably a more effective strategy than banning them.

    There is some interesting discussion of the legalities of such publications and banning thereof below, starting at the bottom of p. 7:

    “Further, the First Amendment requires that the decision as to what communication a resident will receive must be made by the resident himself, and that this decision cannot be usurped by government. Martin, supra at 143-148. Under Van Nuys Pub. Co. v. City of Thousand Oaks, 5 Cal.3d 817 (1971), a municipality may not make it unlawful to distribute unsolicited written materials to private residences without the prior consent of the homeowner.”


  6. I can't remember the year but the last time we had this problem (it was also county wide) I brought a few garbage bags full of the papers to a county supervisors meeting. It certainly got the attention of the paper and the "bombings" stopped. What is the saying about history bound to repeat itself? Obviously the new management doesn't remember their public embarrassment the last time they tried this!